Did you know…? William the Conqueror and his army were not the only Normans to invade parts of Europe; two Norman brothers invaded Sicily and southern Italy as well. In his informative and entertaining A Brief History of the Normans, Francois Neveux traces the path of the Normans through the Middle Ages, from where they originated to where they ended up. He also presents along the way views of other historians about various aspects of the Normans, including where they originated from, their methods of war, and their society and culture.
The Normans made a major impact on Europe that we take for granted today – English words, architecture, and place names. The Norman rulers were not shy about using the clergy to advance their causes, but they were notorious for wanting their way when the clergy pointed out that this was not good. Some, like St. Thomas Becket, paid for those corrections with their lives; others such as St. Anselm were forced into exile. Even popes had trouble with them, especially when Normans became rulers of southern Europe, but they also found them useful when they pitted them against German rulers.
A centerfold contains various illustrations concerning the Normans. A chronology, bibliography and index are included, along with maps in the front of the book. The front cover features an image of the famous Bayeux tapestry depicting the Battle of Hastings, where William the Conqueror defeated the Anglo-Saxons under King Harold of England on October 14, 1066.
Francois Neveux is a leading medieval historian in France and a professor of history at Caen University and has written several books on the Normans. This book is part of the Running Press “Brief History” series and is highly recommended to those interested in medieval history and the histories of England, France, and Italy.